If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I love a good web series. And if you follow me on Twitter, you know that the web series "the Unwritten Rules" is among my favorites. "the Unwritten Rules" is a web series based on Kim Williams' 2004 book titled 40 Hours and an Unwritten Rule: The Diary of a N***er, Negro, Colored, Black, African-American Woman. The series follows Racey Jones (played by Aasha Davis), a black woman who seems to be the minority in her predominately white workplace. With each episode, viewers are given a front row seat to the everyday situations Racey deals with at work, especially those concerning race. Being someone who has had experiences as "the only one" at work or in other social settings, I was immediately drawn to "the Unwritten Rules" and have been hooked since the first episode!
I recently had the opportunity to have a little Q&A session with cast members Aasha Davis (Racey), Gabrielle Christian (Lauren), and Lyn Ross (Kaneisha Jackson) and was able to gauge their thoughts about their respective characters and the progression of Season Two of "the Unwritten Rules."
Cast member and producer Aasha Davis is no stranger to awkward situations when it comes to race relations in the workplace. In fact, she thinks everyone has had to deal with this at some point or another.
Drea: What advice would you give to others who may be experiencing the same things?
AD: I think experiences like the ones in "the Unwritten Rules" are just bumps in the road as we learn to "all get along." If you're working (first of all, be happy you have a job) just think this is a step in how we are learning to share an equal space as brothers and sisters. I try to approach it in a positive way. Like if my brother or sister didn't understand something about me and I had to explain it how would I do that. Treat others the way you want to be treated and hopefully they will follow your lead.
Drea: "the Unwritten Rules" explores race relations that many of us are not comfortable discussing, with the element of humor-- making it easier to digest. What do you feel would make conversations about race in the workplace easier to have?
AD: I read that some teachers are screening "the Unwritten Rules" in their classroom and then opening up the floor for discussion. After watching episodes with my friends of all different races they will often share their own "fish out of water" experiences which would make me feel more connected to them. I think fear comes from the unknown. The more we share our stories, no matter how difficult that might be, the easier I believe it will be to move forward.
Drea: In what ways are you similar to your character, Racey?
AD: I've often been the only one in a situation and I understand what it feels like to be the ambassador of your race or sex. When Kim Williams and I met about my involvement with the web series we agreed that feeling different isn't just a black and white issue but can translate in same race situations. I went to a lot of predominantly white boarding schools and when I would come home for vacations my neighbors and certain family members would make me feel like I wasn't black enough to hang with them and would make fun of me for being or sounding "white."
Drea: In what ways are you different?
AD: I don't think about race issues quite as much as Racey. I very rarely generalize. I think good people and bad people come in all different colors. Which is why I love that Racey also has those moments of pre-conceptions just like her co-workers. I also don't have quite as much gumption to say no in situations as Racey does. I would probably succumb to the pressure to pay more than my share.
Cast member Gabrielle Christian, who plays Racey's co-worker Lauren, can also be remembered for working alongside Aasha Davis in the hit TV series, "South of Nowhere." She loves working with Davis and feels that "after a decade of friendship (starting with SON in 2004) [their] chemistry on-set is just as strong as [their] chemistry off set."
Drea: How is the work you're doing on "the Unwritten Rules" different from any other role you've played on previous shows (SON, House, Numb3rs, etc)?
GC: Well I tend to have a history of playing "the girl next door." However, on "the Unwritten Rules" I feel that I am able to express a darker side of comedy as Lauren is pretty naive.
Drea: Tell us more about your character, Lauren.
GC: Although Lauren has a heart of gold, she is clueless when it comes to stereotypes and offending people, particularly Racey. However, as the series unwinds, Lauren does try to deepen her friendship with Racey by finding common interests between them.
Drea: What challenges do you face in filming "the Unwritten Rules?"
GC: I just hope that our audience finds the humor in the things that Lauren says and does. There's a lot of truth in comedy!
Drea: What message do you hope people receive from tuning in to "the Unwritten Rules?"
GC: To be more open-minded and respectful when it comes to people of different communities & cultures.
Drea: What can we expect to see from Lauren in Season Two?
GC: Lauren attempting to build a better friendship with Racey, in a pretty comical way. :)
Cast member Lyn Ross blew all viewers of "the Unwritten Rules" away when she made her initial appearance in the final episode of Season One as new CEO, Kaneisha Jackson. As Lyn states, "[Kaneisha] represents the change that is coming to the Unwritten Rules and she is a comfort for some and a threat for others."
Drea: What are your thoughts on the First Episode of Season Two?
LR: The first episode was “funny.” Fear and ignorance can bring out comedic human behavior.
Drea: What can we expect from Kaneisha Jackson's character in Season Two?
LR: In Season Two you can expect my character to face challenges that one in Kaneisha’s position would face, in more ways than one. Though, they may not come from who you would expect.
Drea: Do you have any experiences with being "the only one" or the minority in the workplace? Do you have any advice for viewers of "the Unwritten Rules" who may be having similar experiences?
LR: Yes I do have experiences being the only one. My advice to anyone having similar experiences is to stay true to yourself and accept everyone for who they are. From an early age I was exposed to many different cultures and types of people, so I am comfortable around most. “I ain't got time for that!" I did my job and went home.
Drea: What impact do you hope "the Unwritten Rules" has on the viewers? What would you like for them to take away from your character this season?
LR: Acceptance, Openness, that is the impact I hope the Unwritten rules makes on the viewers. When you judge someone on his or her appearance, you miss out on a lot. You may have more in common with others than you think.
So now we've gotten up to speed a bit on what "the Unwritten Rules" is all about, please check out the episodes here and get familiar (if you haven't already). If this looks like the show for you, please be sure to subscribe to the Inkspot Entertainment channel on YouTube, follow on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook. New webisodes will continue to air on Youtube every first Wednesday of the month.